There are several reasons you may want to have your child’s feet examined by an expert. For example, if you have any reason to think that your child’s foot doesn’t look normal, a podiatrist can either diagnose a growth problem or assure you that everything is fine. If your child plays sports, a podiatrist can help you make sure they aren’t in danger of an overuse or stress injury.
Common Childhood Foot Disorders
Several relatively common problems can affect your child’s feet. These problems usually emerge as your child’s foot grows.
If you look closely at a baby’s foot, you’ll notice that there’s really no arch. Usually, as your child’s foot grows, the arch develops. However, sometimes the arch doesn’t develop.
You may notice that your child’s ankles seem to turn inward. That’s likely because of how they plant their feet.
Flat feet don’t generally cause problems, but can sometimes cause pain, which requires treatment. If you’re worried about your child having flat feet, book an appointment at Alliance Foot and Ankle.
Does your child walk with their toes pointing inward? Some people may call this being pigeon-toed.
It’s sometimes caused by internal tibial torsion, which means that the tibia is rotated inward. In some cases, it’s because your child has femoral anteversion, which means that their femur has more curve than normal, which causes the leg to rotate inward.
At one time, the treatment for in-toeing was to wear braces or special shoes, but researchers have found that those devices did little to correct the problem. Most of the time, your child will gain better muscle control and coordination as they grow, and the problem will resolve without treatment.
In some rare instances, in-toeing is associated with an underlying medical condition, making it a good idea for your child to see a podiatrist to rule out that possibility.
The opposite problem, out-toeing, is when your child’s toes point outward rather than straight ahead when they walk. It can result from a problem with your child’s hip, femur, tibia, or foot. Like in-toeing, it’s something most children grow out of over time, but can indicate a deeper problem.
Sports Injuries in Children
If your child plays sports, you may want to have their feet examined by a podiatrist to make sure that there’s no risk of overuse injury, that their footwear is correct for the sport they play, and that it fits properly.
Children who begin training in a specific sport at a young age are more prone to injury than those who play more casually. The sponsors of the Boston Marathon recently raised the age of participation in that race from 16 to 18 years in recognition of that fact.
Your child’s growth plates in the bones of their feet don’t close until they are well into their teens -- for boys that will happen between the ages of 15 and 17 and for girls between 13 and 15. Those plates are more prone to injury under stress than the soft tissues that support the bones.
If your child’s growth plates are inflamed or in danger of overuse injury, your podiatrist at Alliance Foot and Ankle Specialists can give you a warning and help you develop a plan to avoid injury.
If you’re concerned about your child’s foot development or worried about potential injuries due to sports, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with one of our experts at Alliance Foot and Ankle Specialists. Scheduling is easy; you can book online or by phone. We’re happy to answer your questions!